Jujutsu is in Kajukenbo
Prof Bishop does an excellent job of explaining how Jujutsu has always been in the fabric of Kajukenbo.
by John Bishop (Inside Kung Fu Present’s, May 95)
Now days, due in great part to the efforts of the Gracie family, jujitsu is all the rave. Their exploits have changed the way of thinking for many of today’s karate and kung fu stylist’s. No longer can others make the claim that they don’t need to grapple because they will finish a fight before it goes to the ground. In answer to this assertion the Gracie’s have taken on all comers and proved that you better know how to grapple if want to be prepared to defend yourself on the street. Although this concept of adding grappling techniques to a martial artists knowledge may seem like a new idea, it’s really not. Decades before the Gracie family brought their jujitsu to America the founders of kajukenbo were incorporating jujitsu techniques into their new system.
Somewhere, sometime, someone came up with the statistic that 97% of all fights will end up on the ground. No one knows where this statistic came from, and it’s very doubtful that any studies have ever been conducted that can authenticate this claim. None the less the truth of the matter is that some or perhaps even the majority of fights will eventually end up on the ground.
Should you prepare yourself for this eventually? If your into sports karate you will never need grappling skills, but if your interested in self-defense you better know what to do if somebody tackles you before you can punch or kick them.
There are all kinds of grappling systems such as judo, jujitsu, aikido, chin-na, and wrestling. Jujitsu is quite possibly the most versatile of these systems because it includes techniques similar to those contained in all of the popular grappling systems. Jujitsu contains the joint locks found in aikido and chin-na, and the throws and ground fighting techniques found in judo and wrestling. It also contains a myriad of strikes, kicks, and chokes.
Jujitsu techniques play an important part in kajukenbo self-defense combinations. Thru much trial and error the systems founders discovered that there were certain self-defense situations that were much better handled with jujitsu techniques. Knife and club defenses were just two of the circumstances where jujitsu techniques were found to excel. When faced with an attacker armed with a knife or club a typical karate stylist would block or evade the attack and then counter attack with a kick or hand strike. If the attacker was not disarmed or disabled with this counter-attack the process would have to be continued as many times as it would take to end the threat. Kajukenbo stylist’s feel that in that type of attack the primary concern is to seize and control the arm holding the weapon, any strike and kick should be a follow up to the jujitsu technique.
In the past, many people have made attempts to combine jujitsu with karate or kung fu. The main dilemma faced by these people is how to make jujitsu techniques flow smoothly in combination with their karate or kung fu techniques. One obstacle is the fact that jujitsu stances and movements are very different than karate or kung fu stances and movements. When someone just adds jujitsu techniques to their karate or kung fu techniques what is immediately evident is the total lack of smooth flowing transitional movements. Because the three systems are very different their is a need for alteration to prevent wasted and awkward movements in between transitional movements.
Although classical jujitsu joint locks are used in kajukenbo, many are altered so that they can be executed from karate stances such as the cat stance or horse stance. By using these stances the stepping patterns become more compact and transitions into karate techniques can be made quickly and smoothly. An example of this alteration would be a defense against a straight thrusting knife attack. A jujitsu stylist will often step back and turn in a circular movement that goes away from the thrust and then after seizing the attacker’s wrist, step back again with the opposite foot and turn in the reverse direction to complete an inward wrist lock. In the same scenario a kajukenbo stylist would take a quick step to the side and turn into a cat stance. The attacker’s wrist would then be caught from this position. Instead of stepping back to execute the wrist lock the kajukenbo stylist would simply rotate back toward the attacker to execute the wrist lock. From that position the defender can control the attacker and execute a low kick to further expedite the takedown.
Jujitsu techniques are unsurpassed when the defender’s sole purpose is to gain physical control of the attacker. For this reason, kajukenbo stylist’s are trained to use jujitsu techniques by themselves as well as in combination with other techniques. When fighting a armed or highly aggressive attacker the kajukenbo stylist will often use jujitsu locks to control and position the attacker for a follow-up strike or kick. If the attacker is not easily taken down, a knee break kick will greatly assist in taking him down to the ground. Jujitsu techniques can also be used to disjoint and render useless the arm holding the weapon.
In cases where the attacker is not armed, jujitsu techniques can be used at any time during a self-defense combination. They may be the first technique executed and then followed up with a takedown or strike, or they may be executed after the attacker is softened up with strikes or kicks.
In conclusion, kaj ken bo stylist’s discovered long ago that with little modification jujitsu techniques blend well in combination with their karate and kung fu techniques, and that they greatly enhance the effectiveness of their self-defense combinations.
Kajukenbo is the direct result of American resourcefulness. It is also America’s first martial art system, having been founded in 1949 in the U.S. Territory of Hawaii. The concept for kajukenbo came about in 1947 when five Hawaiian martial arts masters calling themselves the “Black Belt Society” started on a project to develop an unbeatable self-defense system. These five creative men were Peter Choo, the Hawaii welterweight boxing champion, and a Tang Soo Do black belt. Frank Ordonez, a Sekeino Jujitsu black belt. Joe Holck, a Kodokan Judo black belt. Clarence Chang, a master of Sil-lum Pai kung fu. And Adriano D. Emperado, a Chinese Kenpo black belt, and Escrima master.
For three long years, these men trained for several hours a day taking advantage of each other’s strengths and weaknesses to develop their new art. When Joe Holck and Peter Choo would workout on the mat Holck could see that he needed to improve his striking techniques, and Choo would realize how vulnerable he was once he was on the ground. Emperado was able to show Choo how a Kenpo man could work inside a kicker with quick multiple hand strikes. Chang in turn showed the others how the circular, flowing techniques of Sil-lum Pai could enhance their hard linear strikes. Frank Ordonez showed everyone how they could go with an attacker’s force and then re-direct it against him to dislocate and disable the attacking limb.
Kenpo would be the heart of this system that included tang soo do kicks, jujitsu joint locks, judo throws, and sil-lum pai circular techniques. Joe Holck suggested that the name of this new system should be “Kajukenbo”. Ka for karate, ju for judo and jujitsu, ken for kenpo, and bo for Chinese boxing (kung fu). Since those early days, kajukenbo has grown into a major martial art that is practiced worldwide.